There was a plethora of news released by Microsoft on Tuesday.

As well as Tuesday January 12 being the first patch Tuesday of 2016, it was also the last day that the company announced it would be supporting the Windows 8 operating system.

In the same announcement, Microsoft also officially ended their support to several older versions of Internet Explorer. This leaves the only official browsers still supported by Microsoft are the new Edge browser, and Internet Explorer 11.

Windows 8

But back to Windows.

As of the 13th January, Microsoft will no longer be releasing security patches for the Windows 8 operating system.  Any exploits, vulnerabilities or security holes that hackers manage to find from this point on, will not be fixed by Microsoft, making the OS now insecure at a fundamental level forever more.

Confused Windows 8 users

The announcement has left many users of Windows 8 surprised and confused, and it’s hardly surprising. Despite Microsoft having warned users since last August that this would be happening, Microsoft’s terminology hasn’t been all that clear.  But either way, Windows 8.0 is gone, and users should upgrade to Windows 8.1.

Actually, no they shouldn’t.

Users should actually upgrade to Windows 8.1 Update.  Windows 8.1 Update is the current iteration of Windows 8, which was a large and significant upgrade Windows 8.1 received, not so long ago. So when MS say that support for Windows 8 has ended, what they really mean, is that support has ended for Windows 8.0, and also Windows 8.1, but has not ended for Windows 8.1 Update. (Windows 8.1 support actually ended in August 2015.)

I’m still confused, what’s the solution?

Keep your computer up to date, and run Windows updates when you can.

Problem solved, I’m happy

Maybe. MS also recently announced that the free upgrade to Windows 10 will change its status to ‘Recommended,’ in Windows Update. This means that Windows 10 will install itself automatically on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers that use the default update settings. The majority of Windows users just go with the default settings.

It looks like Microsoft’s big push for anyone using its systems in 2016 is going to be forcing its customers to stay updated, whether they want to or not.